Delivery brand UPS has introduced a new line of electric delivery vehicles to its Birmingham and Southampton fleets.

The new hybrid vans, known as range-extended electric vehicles (REEVs), are designed to use electric power without compromising on the ‘range anxiety’ caused by purely electric vehicles.

They will operate using hybrid-electric tech, designed to increase range while maintaining the cargo capacity of a traditional diesel vehicle counterpart. The technology will allow the vans to automatically switch between electric and diesel power when most efficient, and will not use diesel in clean air zones.

The move is part of a $1bn investment in alternative fuel and vehicle technology by UPS since 2009.

The vehicles were developed in conjunction with Chelmsford-based electric vehicle specialists TEVVA, and was part-funded by Innovate UK and The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

The resulting vehicles have an increased range of 400km, up from an existing 100km maximum.

“Commercial vehicles account for 27 per cent of transport related CO2 and 5 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions on Europe’s roads,” explained Richard Lidstone-Scott, commercial director at TEVVA Motors.

“EU legislation says that this needs to be cut by 15 per cent by 2025 and 30 pre cent by 2030, and Net Zero in the UK by 2050.

“What that means is that the electrification of the medium duty truck sector is inevitable, yet many firms and OEMs are still scratching their heads about how and when to make that happen.”

Luke Wake, director of automotive engineering and advanced technology at UPS International added: “This is a big breakthrough for our continued use of electric vehicles in the UK – and for the communities we serve.

“We can serve our customers with lower emission, alternatively-fuelled vehicles in places beyond the reach of existing pure electric vehicles at this weight class.

“[Y]ou can now actually see progress like this out on the roads in and out of Birmingham and Southampton.”